Friday, June 29, 2007

English only?

Should we push English as a national language in the USA ? What exactly would that mean? Would we only allow people who can read and write English to get a driver's license? (BTW, I heard a funny story from a student this year who took the written exam for her driver's license in German, but the translation was so bad that she failed the exam. She decided to take the test in English, and then she passed.) Should we get rid of all bilingual education programs? Should we break up communities of Chinese speakers in Pasadena, Spanish speakers in LA, and so on and make sure that store owners speak English only? In fact, it seems the opposite is happening. Police as well as store clerks are being taught, for instance, to speak Spanish in order to better serve their communities and clientele. It does seem true that you're likely to get farther economically and socio-politically in this country if you can use English effectively. Witness Arnold Schwarzenegger, from 'Pumping Iron' to 'Terminator' to Governor of California! He couldn't have done it without commanding the language. Language is power.

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